MIAMI, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A growing number of undocumented immigrants are being caught aboard Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains, lawyers and others say.
The searches on public transportation, which have not received much publicity, mark the latest attempt to crack down on undocumented immigrants, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Steve Cribby, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said agents are permitted to conduct immigration checks in public places, including Greyhound and Amtrak, where the monitoring is designed to disrupt smuggling into the country's interior.
He told the Herald the checks are in line with previous years, but border patrol officials declined to give figures on apprehensions on public transportation, citing law enforcement security.
But others point to an increase.
"I'd say Greyhound cases make up about 20 percent of our clients now,'' said Juliet Williams, an assistant with the law firm Kantaras & Andreopoulos, which has offices in Central Florida. "That is much more than we've usually seen."
The number of such apprehensions the firm has handled has increased about 25 percent in the past two years, she said.
Greyhound spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian said in an e-mail the company works with officials such as those from border patrol "as needed," but added, "We are unaware of when and why they are at our stations until they arrive."
Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said the railroad had a "longstanding relationship" with federal law enforcement agencies and "works closely and cooperates with all federal, state and local" agencies.